Report: Foxconn Used Involuntary Interns To Build PS4 (UPDATED)
UPDATE Friday, October 11– After reaching out to Sony for comment, a Sony spokesperson provided the following statement to Game Front:
“Sony expects its suppliers, including Foxconn, to fully comprehend and comply with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are in communication with Foxconn and are investigating the matter.”
We’ll be following this story closely.
According to reports coming out of China, Foxconn is forcing thousands of university students to assemble Sony’s PlayStation 4 in its Yantai plant. Games in Asia picked up the report, originally posted on Chinese site Tencent Games/QQ.
The report says the students are from the nearby Xi’an Institute of Technology’s Engineering program. The “internship” program, which has students majoring in everything from computer science to finance, is mandatory for graduation, and the students will lose six class credits if they leave the job. And what a job it is, with duties ranging from gluing components together to applying stickers to sorting cables and manuals for retails boxes.
Initially, Foxconn claimed no wrongdoing, saying only that it employs a voluntary workforce. The manufacturing giant, while still deflecting any real blame, has since told Quartz that “…immediate actions have been taken to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies.” The actions include making sure students are forced to work night shifts or overtime, but they are still working the day shift. It’s unclear if the student are being paid or not.
The school has declined to comment, thus far, and it’s possible the Institute received an “agent’s fee” for adding its students to the workforce.
A similar story surfaced in 2012, when it was reported that students from the same Xi’an school were working on the iPhone 5 assembly line. During that episode, the school received $16 for every student it sent to work in the Foxconn factory.
We have reached out to Sony for comment, and will update if any new information arrives.